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Best Way To Remove Wallpaper In 7 Easy Steps! (Tried & Tested Methods)

A woman pulling wallpaper off of a wall with both hands, and scrunching her nose.

Buying a new house, inheriting an old house, or just deciding to renovate the house you have lived in your entire life will usually mean a fight with some part. The worst fight that anyone ever has will be with the wallpaper from the 1950s that has been sitting quietly applied for over 70 years.

The best and easiest way to remove wallpaper is with a scraper and some hot water or a steamer. High-quality wallpaper can be much trickier to remove as the glue will not be able to scrape off from the walls easily. First, you will need to loosen the glue as much as possible.

Through experience, we know that there are several things about the required steps to remove wallpaper you should know. Many people forget that the process involves some very repetitive steps to get everything off the wall, not just the paper.

What Is The Fastest Way To Remove Wallpaper?

The fastest way to remove wallpaper is simply using a scraper and sandpaper, scraping off parts of the wall as you go along. However, this does require a lot of work to repair once you are done. Most professionals specifically avoid this when they know they have to complete the job in a few days.

When you want to remove wallpaper fast, it is good to remember that there are different kinds of wallpaper. First, we recommend that you test a small part of the wall to see what will work the best. Many types of wallpaper quickly come off just by pulling on them.

Further, it can be that the previous owners of the home used the wrong glue, causing the wallpaper to adhere more permanently. Usually, this is why people cover the previous wallpaper layer with more or just paint over it.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links which will take you to online retailers that sell products and services. If you click on one and buy something, I may earn from qualifying purchases. See my Affiliate Disclosure for more details.

If you are adding tile, read about if you can tile over wallpaper in my article, “Can You Tile Over Wallpaper?”.

What Is The Easiest Way To Remove Wallpaper?

The easiest way to remove wallpaper from almost every type of wall is by steaming the wallpaper with a steamer like this one on Amazon. Heating up the glue loosens the wallpaper so you can easily scrape or pull it off without too much struggle.

It should be noted that the glue will also have to be scraped off, with several washing and scrubbings required to remove the glue. If new paint or wallpaper starts going bad, the glue from the previous wallpaper is the cause.

If you are unsure about the process, the best and easiest thing to do is to have professionals remove the wallpaper. Getting their help will ensure the wallpaper is removed within a few days without spending your own time and energy.

What Are The Steps To Remove Wallpaper The Fastest And Easiest?

Now that we know the fastest and easiest way to remove wallpaper, we can look at the best way to do it. Several steps are required to remove the wallpaper from any wall while taking care to remove everything.

There are seven steps to follow and apply to any wallpaper removal when it comes to a house renovation. Getting everything done correctly will ensure that the following few layers of wallpaper or paint adhere completely and entirely to the walls.

A hand pulling wallpaper off a wall with a scraper scraping it loose.
Remove loose wallpaper with a scraper tool

Step #1: Throw Down Floor Covers

This should always be the first step when remodeling any room in your house without completely demolishing it. Protect the floor and the rest of the house from damage caused by this project, including dust.

Many people forget that you are stepping in dust and other debris when removing wallpaper and glue from the walls. This mess can easily and quickly get tracked throughout the rest of the house, with glue ending up in carpets and dust damaging wood floors.

Step #2: Scrape Loose Wallpaper Parts

Using a scraper for wallpaper removal like this one on Amazon, we recommend quickly removing any loose wallpaper, usually in the center or corners of the wall. Removing these pieces will help you quickly learn the quality of the wallpaper and the glue used.

Further, we recommend that you test a small corner of the wall to see whether or not the wallpaper can easily be removed. Many homes that were wallpapered in the 1980s and 1990s have weaker or easy-to-remove glue, making it possible to remove all the wallpaper without special requirements.

Step #3: Steam Or Spray The Rest

Once you have removed all the easy-to-remove parts of the wallpaper, start working on the significantly more stubborn wallpaper areas. If you do not have a steamer, use hot water in a spray bottle or a wet sponge to spread the water across the wall.

Begin removing the steamed parts of the wallpaper almost immediately as the glue will be heated and soft.

NOTE: When using a spray bottle or sponge, leave the water to soak into the glue and wallpaper, ensuring the glue lets go entirely from the wall.

Step #4: Scrape the Wallpaper Some More

Once everything is thoroughly soaked and steamed, it’s time to start scraping again. Just as the glue has softened when steamed and made wet, the paint layer underneath the wallpaper will also become significantly softer, so be careful.

You can be a bit more relaxed if the plan is to sand the entire wall flat to prepare for the following new paint or wallpaper.

HOT TIP: When working on drywall, you will need to be extra careful; otherwise, you will have to use a lot of spackle.

Step #5: Wash The Wall With Soapy Water

Once all of the wallpaper has been removed, clean the walls to ensure that every last trace of glue has been removed successfully. Ordinary dish soap from Amazon will work perfectly to remove the leftover glue that sticks to any wall parts.

Further, we recommend using steam to help remove the glue that sticks to the walls. To ensure there is absolutely no remaining glue on the wall, use a combination of:

  • sponges
  • cloths
  • scraper
A woman kneeling on a floor with lots of removed wallpaper bits, using a scraper and a steamer.
A steamer and other tools help the removal process

Step #6: Apply Gel Stripper And Wash Again

Once you have removed the last visible layers of glue with a scraper and soapy water, use a gel stripper found on Amazon. The gel stripper will remove any missed or remaining specks and the layer of super thin glue that remains across the walls.

This step is often forgotten, causing a big problem when the new wallpaper is applied or the new paint starts to crackle and peels off. The gel stripper will remove the thin layer of glue that causes the yellow tint on the primer layer of paint beneath the wallpaper.

Step #7: Apply New Wallpaper Or Paint

Once everything is dried off, and the wallpaper glue has been completely removed, sand down and prepare the walls for whatever comes next.

We recommend applying a new primer layer, sold on Amazon, to ensure that the new project works perfectly. The primer will create a new surface for the wallpaper.

HOT TIP: If you use wallpaper, we recommend waiting a few days for everything to dry out entirely before starting.

Does WD40 Remove Wallpaper?

Using WD40 directly on the wallpaper will not remove the wallpaper, but it will work to remove the glue that is adhering the wallpaper to the wall. However, we do not recommend using WD40 to remove the wallpaper or glue residue behind the wall.

WD40 will cause a thicker layer of oil to accumulate on the walls throughout the house, and cause more extensive problems when applying a new layer of wallpaper or paint. Further, drywall and brick walls will quickly and aggressively absorb the WD40.

This means that even if you use something to remove the layer of WD40, the smell of the oil will always be present. Many walls sweat out the oil when the room gets hot or when the sun shines through and hits the walls.

Can You Use A Hairdryer To Remove Wallpaper?

Most types of wallpaper will adhere with almost gel-like glue, which means that heating it with a heater will quickly and aggressively help remove it. The hairdryer can be so effective that you start melting the wallpaper itself as well, causing a problem that can be dangerous.

People with more robust equipment might try to use a heat gun, which instantly begins to melt the wallpaper. Don’t forget that the wallpaper itself does not have glue on it. Instead, it is required to heat the glue beneath the wallpaper.

This is why steaming works the best, the steam penetrates the wallpaper and allows you to quickly and comfortably peel the wallpaper off. Elbow grease and other chemicals work better to get the residual glue off the walls when dealing with the glue itself.

What Do Professionals Remove Wallpaper With?

Professional wallpaper removers use two tools to easily and quickly remove wallpaper. A steaming machine and a scraper, with teams working together to steam one part of the wallpaper and then the other scraping off the wallpaper.

Further, the older the wallpaper is, the more likely it is to have dangerous materials in the glue that are not safe to have in the air. We recommend that you consider this when remodeling an old house, especially if you have a home from the 1950s.

As the years have changed, the technology used to adhere the wallpaper to the walls changed. This means that the glues were changed to be easily removable as the years went on.

A bunch of removed wallpaper on the floor near a wall.
Remove all of the old wallpaper at once

How Do You Remove Multiple Layers Of Old Wallpaper?

The simplest and easiest way to remove multiple layers of old wallpaper is to remove them all at once, scraping through them. Usually, this is how you get a layered grouping of wallpapers that people like to show off online, with many finding it interesting to see how styles have changed.

Further, the first layer of wallpaper may have adhered to a paper-mâché, a technique that relied on using newspapers. This is often when you can see when the first layer of wallpaper was applied to the walls of the home, allowing you to get some fascinating history of the house.

However, it should be noted that the older a house is, the more likely it is that the first layer of glue will have started to degrade significantly. This is often when you can pull on the multiple layers of wallpaper, and it will all just start peeling off.


The steps to removing your wallpaper will always be easy to follow, allowing you to also remove the residual glue that stays behind after the wallpaper. We recommend that you consider each step before starting, and find the right equipment before even buying the wallpaper.

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